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Behavioral Targeting: What Is It, Examples, & Top 5 Benefits

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Behavioral Targeting: What Is It, Examples, & Top 5 Benefits

There was once a time when marketers could only target by demographic information like shoppers’ ages, genders, and locations. This made reaching target audiences difficult.

Today, we have access to much more relevant data and can target consumers based more on how they’re shopping. This is known as behavioral targeting. 

Behavioral marketing is the future of personalized marketing. It’s a data-driven approach that leverages a consumer’s past interactions, behaviors, and preferences to create tailored marketing experiences.

With the rise of big data and technological advancements, behavioral marketing has become increasingly sophisticated, allowing brands to deliver highly personalized and effective marketing campaigns. 

In this post, we will explore the basics of behavioral marketing, how it works, and why it’s crucial for the success of omnichannel  marketing efforts.

What Is Behavioral Targeting?

Behavioral targeting is a marketing strategy that uses behavioral data to help inform how, when, and where brands communicate with existing and potential consumers.

Behavioral marketing is about understanding your target audience and what drives their buying decisions, using that information to create targeted and relevant messaging.

How Does Behavioral Targeting Work?

So, what does behavioral targeting look like for brands? We explain in depth below.

Gathering Data

Your strategy is only as strong as the data that informs it. The first step in behavioral targeting is to collect data. Data collection is crucial to understanding consumer behavior patterns and creating targeted marketing campaigns. 

Brands can collect data through IP addresses, tracking pixels, third-party cookies, and personal data from providers. This technology can give marketers insight into behavioral touchpoints for potential customers, like browsing history and purchase history.

Marketers can look to many places for this data, but these are some common reference points for building a user profile: 

  • Clicked Links & Advertisements 
  • Demographics 
  • Location Data
  • Mobile Device Data
  • Past Purchases
  • Subscriptions

Brands can also gather consumer data through direct consumer engagement, such as online surveys and feedback forms. 

By collecting this data, brands can build a detailed user profile and use it to understand their consumers’ behavior patterns, which is essential for effective behavioral targeting.

Segmenting Users

The next step after collecting data is to segment your audiences. This means dividing the audience into distinct groups based on behavioral patterns and other characteristics. 

Segmentation can be done manually or at scale through automation via programmatic advertising. Programmatic advertising leverages algorithms to analyze consumer data and create audience segments in real-time. 

By dividing the audience into segments based on their behavioral patterns, brands can create personalized marketing experiences that resonate with their target audience. 

Reaching the highest-intent shoppers increases consumer engagement and conversions.

Application of Data

Ultimately, segmentation and behavioral data analysis aims to help create personalized marketing campaigns. With data, brands can create tailored marketing for specific audience segments, resulting in more effective and efficient marketing efforts.

Personalization can look like tailored messaging or specific ad placements. Behavioral targeting can and should inform everything from a subject line to a product feature. 

Personalization is a non-negotiable strategy for brands. Personalized marketing drives 10% to 15% revenue lift on average. What’s more, 71% of consumers expect personalized ads, and 76% get frustrated when they don’t receive them.

With consumers expecting personalized marketing and the data proving its value, behavioral advertising, and personalization are essential. 

Five Benefits of Behavioral Targeting

Behavioral targeting as a digital marketing strategy is proven to deliver better results across nearly all relevant performance metrics. 

1. Higher Click-Through Rates (CTR)

When compared to traditional, non-targeted marketing efforts, behavioral targeting delivers higher CTRs because it allows brands to deliver the right messaging to the right audiences, increasing the chances they will fulfill a desired action.

By using data to understand consumer behavior patterns, brands can create targeted campaigns more likely to engage their audience and drive conversions. 

For example, if a consumer has shown interest in a particular fitness product, an e-commerce fitness brand can serve them targeted ads of complementary products on social media, increasing the chances of them making a purchase.

2. Increased Conversion Rates and Sales

Studies show that behavioral targeting leads to increased sales. As marketers, it can be easy to focus on the metrics and the granular details of content performance. But ultimately, the purpose of advertising is to increase revenue. 

With relevant ads, brands can increase consumer engagement, build trust, and drive conversions, significantly increasing overall sales. 

3. Higher User Engagement and Better User Experience

Consumers aren’t just attracted to more tailored messaging; they expect them. By offering consumers a more personalized brand experience, you tell them you understand and value them.

You’re eliminating the need for them to search through your site, scrolling past items they’re not interested in. In short, you’re leveling up your shopping experience. And that’s something consumers appreciate — and remember. 

4. More Efficient Ad Campaigns

For digital marketers, the name of the game is efficiency. Your biggest goal is to reduce costs and make digital advertising as profitable as possible.

Every marketing campaign has a certain amount of waste and churn. You can’t expect all of your ads to land. 

But your ads perform better at scale when you lean on behavioral data. Brands across industries have seen that behavioral targeting leads to more efficient ads. With a higher budget, they can pour resources into retargeting and retention.

5. Generate Long-Lasting Consumer Relationships

Personalized experiences build trust and strengthen brand loyalty. This type of targeting also provides a unique opportunity for brands to learn more about their consumers, which can be used to make future marketing efforts more efficient and create a more enjoyable consumer experience. 

By showing that they understand and care about their consumers’ needs and interests, brands can build strong relationships that last, even after the initial purchase has been made.

Examples of Behavioral Targeting

Now that you understand the benefits, let’s explore a few types of behavioral targeting.


Behavioral targeting opens up new opportunities for cross-selling, allowing brands to promote complementary products or services to consumers based on their user behavior.

You’ve probably encountered this in email marketing. If you purchase a skirt, a brand may suggest a matching top. This approach benefits the brand and provides value to the consumer, as they are being presented with relevant options that can enhance their overall experience.


Behavioral targeting can also help brands with upselling efforts through user data like browsing behavior and shopping cart history to determine the likelihood of a consumer purchasing a higher-end product.

Behavioral upselling is often bolstered by promotions, sales, and loyalty programs, all of which add value for trusted consumers.


Retaining an existing customer is less expensive than acquiring a new one. Behavioral targeting makes that even more true.

This approach helps to keep customers engaged and increases the chances of conversion through relevant content and offers. Often, a system of automation makes it happen. A few days, weeks, and months after a purchase, a brand can deploy an email campaign to gain feedback and spark interest in more products. 

Targeting Segments in Marketing

These learnings don’t have to stay contained in digital marketing. Behavioral user information is the rising tide that lifts all marketing boats, improving initiatives across verticals and platforms. 

How Is Behavioral Targeting Different from Contextual Targeting?

Sometimes, shoppers mistake behavioral targeting for contextual targeting. 

To clarify, behavioral targeting is based on a user’s previous actions, behaviors, and preferences, while contextual targeting focuses on the context surrounding the user and their current activity.

The MuteSix Difference

Behavioral targeting isn’t the finish line. It’s a starting point. At MuteSix, we accelerate growth for  brands using real-time data optimization so that every time we’re meeting the right customers with the right messaging at the right time.

Through data-backed, omnichannel media buying, creative strategies, and growth marketing, MuteSix’s team of forward-thinking experts scale brands to success faster and more efficiently than any other agency can.

Are you ready to grow your brand? Reach out today for a marketing consultation to see if you qualify for a free omnichannel audit. 


Click-Through Rate (CTR): Definition, Formula, and Analysis | Investopedia 

What Is Behavioral Targeting? Plus Benefits and How It Works | Indeed

Behavioral targeting: be more efficient | Marketing Week

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